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Summary of Results For 2010

Introduction

The Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) is an on-going general population survey of alcohol and illicit drug use among Canadians aged 15 years and older, that was launched in April 2008. Derived from and similar to the Canadian Addiction Survey (CAS) of 2004, CADUMS was designed to provide detailed national and provincial estimates of alcohol and drug-related behaviours and outcomes. The following report presents results from the third annual CADUMS data collection which commenced in February 2010.

The results for 2010 are based on telephone interviews with 13,615 respondents, across all 10 provinces, which represent 25,957,435 Canadian residents, aged 15 years and older. Since CADUMS is an on-going survey, it will allow for the examination of trends over time. As such, the current Summary of Results for 2010 presents data from the latest CADUMS with a comparison to previous years. In addition, 2010 results will be compared to estimates from the Canadian Addiction Survey (CAS) of 2004 to identify any changes that have taken place in the past 6 years. A discussion of the results from CADUMS 2010, detailed tables and some definitions used in this report are also provided.

  CAS 2004
N=13,909
%
CADUMS 2008
N=16,672
%
CADUMS 2009
N=13,082
%
CADUMS 2010
N=13,615
%

N - Sample size.

* Indicates that the difference between 2008 and 2004 is statistically significant.

(*) Indicates that the difference between 2009 and 2004 is statistically significant.

† Indicates that the difference between 2010 and 2004 is statistically significant.

± Indicates that the difference between 2008 and 2009 is statistically significant.
There are no statistically significant differences between 2010 and 2009 in this table.

-- No comparable estimates.

N/A -In 2008, the list of substances under hallucinogens included salvia and "magic mushrooms"; as a result the estimate is not comparable to 2004, 2009 or 2010.

S - Estimate suppressed due to high sampling variability.

Q - Estimate qualified due to high sampling variability; interpret with caution.

a Cannabis, cocaine/crack, speed, ecstasy, hallucinogens, heroin

b Cocaine/crack, speed, ecstasy, hallucinogens, heroin

Cannabis Use
Cannabis - lifetime 44.5 43.9 42.4 41.5
Cannabis - past-year 14.1 11.4* 10.6(*) 10.7
Cannabis - Average age of initiation for youth 15.6 years 15.5 years 15.6 years 15.7 years
Other Illicit drug use in past-year
Cocaine/Crack 1.9 1.6 1.2Q 0.7
Speed 0.8 1.1 0.4Q 0.5Q
Hallucinogens (excluding salvia) 0.7 N/A 0.7Q 0.9
Hallucinogens (including salvia) -- 2.1 0.9Q ± 1.1
Ecstasy 1.1 1.4 0.9Q 0.7
Salvia -- -- S 0.3Q
Methamphetamine/Crystal meth 0.2 S S S
 
Any 6 drugsa (hallucinogens excl. salvia) 14.5 -- 11.0(*) 11.0
Any 5 drugsb (hallucinogens excl. salvia) 3.0 -- 2.0 1.8
 
Any 6 drugsa (hallucinogens incl. salvia) -- 12.1 11.1 11.1
Any 5 drugsb (hallucinogens incl. salvia) -- 3.9 2.1± 2.0
Drug related harms in past year
Any drug harm to self - among users of any drug 17.5 21.7 -- 17.0
Any drug harm to self - among total population 2.8 2.7 -- 2.1
Alcohol use
Lifetime Use 92.8 90.2* 88.6(*) 88.9
Past 12 month Use 79.3 77.3 76.5(*) 77.0
Average age of initiation for youth 15 to 24 years 15.6 years 15.6 years 15.9 years 15.9 years
Alcohol pattern of use in past year
Abstainer -never in life 7.3 9.9* 11.6(*) 11.2
Former drinker - abstained in past-year 13.7 13.0 12.2 12.0
Light infrequent drinker 38.7 36.3 36.1 35.7
Light frequent drinker 27.7 31.5* 31.3(*) 32.2
Heavy infrequent drinker 5.6 4.2* 3.7(*) 4.6
Heavy frequent drinker 7.1 5.1* 5.1(*) 4.3
Alcohol related harms in past year
Any alcohol harm to self - among drinkers 8.8 8.7 8.3 7.1
Any alcohol harm to self - among total population 7.1 6.8 6.5 5.7

Detailed Tables

  • Table 1: Main 2010 CADUMS indicators by sex and age - Drugs
  • Table 2: Main 2010 CADUMS indicators by province - Drugs
  • Table 3: Changes between CAS 2004 and CADUMS 2008-2010, overall - Drugs
  • Table 4: Changes between CAS 2004 and CADUMS 2008-2010 by age - Drugs (Revised September 6, 2011)
  • Table 5: Changes between CAS 2004 and CADUMS 2008-2010 by sex - Drugs
  • Table 6: Main 2010 CADUMS indicators by sex and age - Alcohol
  • Table 7: Main 2010 CADUMS indicators by province - Alcohol
  • Table 8: Changes between CAS 2004 and CADUMS 2008-2010, overall - Alcohol
  • Table 9: Changes between CAS 2004 and CADUMS 2008-2010 by age - Alcohol
  • Table 10: Changes between CAS 2004 and CADUMS 2008-2010 by sex - Alcohol

Cannabis Use

The prevalence of past-year cannabis use among Canadians 15 years of age and older was 10.7%, a rate unchanged from 2009 (10.6%) but statistically significantly lower than the rate of 14.1% reported in 2004. Prevalence of past-year cannabis use between 2004 and 2010 was significantly lower among males (18.2% vs. 14.6%), females (10.2% vs. 7.1%) and youth aged 15 to 24 years (37.0% vs. 25.1%). Cannabis use among adults aged 25 years and older (10.0% vs. 7.9%) varied over time but was not statistically significantly different.

In 2010, the prevalence of past-year use by youth was 25.1%, three times higher than the rate among adults (7.9%). Despite the 6-year decrease in prevalence of past-year cannabis use among both males and females, in 2010 the rate of use among males remained twice as high as that of females (14.6% vs. 7.1%).

Compared with the national average of 10.7%, Saskatchewan (7.2%) and Newfoundland (8.4%) had statistically significantly lower rates of past-year cannabis use, while Nova Scotia's rate (13.2%) was statistically significantly higher than the national average. Provincial prevalence rates ranged from 7.2% in Saskatchewan to 13.2% in Nova Scotia.

The average age of initiation for cannabis use among youth 15 to 24 years of age has remained unchanged over the past 6 years at approximately 15.7 years of age.

Other Illicit Drug Use

In 2010, past-year use of the most commonly reported illicit drugs, after cannabis, was estimated to be less than 1% (hallucinogens (0.9%); ecstasy (0.7%), cocaine or crack (0.7%) and speed (0.5%)). The past-year use of methamphetamine was not reportable. The only statistically significant change noted among these substances over time was a decrease in cocaine or crack from 1.9% in 2004 to 0.7% in 2010.

In 2010, the prevalence of use of at least one of six drugs [including cannabis, cocaine or crack, speed, ecstasy, hallucinogens (excluding salvia) or heroin] in the past year was 11.0%. The rate of use by males at 15.0% was double that of females (7.3%); and the prevalence of use was three times higher among youth (25.9%) than adults (8.1%). There was no difference in the prevalence of use of at least one of six drugs in 2010 (11.0%) compared to 2009, however, there is a statistically significant decline compared to that reported in 2004 (14.5%).

Use of at least one of five illicit drugs excluding cannabis [cocaine or crack, speed, ecstasy, hallucinogens (excluding salvia), or heroin] was reported by 1.8% of Canadians. The reported rate of such use by males (2.5%) was statistically significantly higher than that reported by females (1.2%), while the rate of use by youth at 7.0% was almost nine times higher than that reported by adults at 0.8%. Past-year use of at least one of five drugs excluding cannabis in 2010 (1.8%), was a statistically significant decrease from 2004 (3.0%) but not significantly different from 2009 (2.0%). Also, the use of at least one of these drugs decreased between 2010 and 2004 among males (2.5% versus 4.3%) and among youth (7.0% versus 11.3%).

Use of Salvia

Salvia, an emerging substance of interest, was examined on its own for the first time in 2009. In 2010, an estimated 1.6% of Canadians, aged 15 years and older, reported they had used salvia in their lifetime, and 0.3% reported using it in the past year. Salvia appears to be a substance that is tried largely by youth with 6.6% of youth reporting lifetime use; statistically significantly higher than that reported by adults (0.6%). There is no difference in any of the 2010 rates from those reported in 2009. Because this is a relatively new substance, Health Canada will be closely monitoring its use over the next years.

Use of Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Drugs

CADUMS includes questions relating to the abuse of three classes of psychoactive pharmaceutical drugs. The three classes of drugs are: opioid pain relievers, (such as Percodan®, Demerol®, and OxyContin®); stimulants, (such as Ritalin®, Concerta®, Adderall®, and Dexedrine®); and tranquillizers and sedatives, (such as Valium®, Ativan®, and Xanax®). While these drugs are prescribed for therapeutic purposes, they have the potential to be abused due to their psychoactive properties. To provide a baseline on overall use, including therapeutic use, respondents were asked whether or not they had used opioid pain relievers, stimulants, or sedatives. Among those who had used these drugs, further questions were asked to determine whether the drugs were abused; that is, whether they were taken for the experience, the feeling they caused, or to get high.

Psychoactive pharmaceutical use and abuse has generally remained comparable to that measured in 2009. There were no significant differences in the rates of psychoactive pharmaceutical use between 2009 and 2010, with the exception of stimulant use, where the rate of such use among males increased significantly from 0.6% in 2009 to 1.2% in 2010.

In 2010, while 26.0% of respondents indicated that they had used a psychoactive pharmaceutical drug in the past year, only 1.0% of these users (corresponding to 0.3% of the total population) reported that they used such a drug for the experience, the feeling they caused, or to get high. Similar to 2009, adults aged 25 years and older reported higher rates of psychoactive pharmaceutical use (26.7%) than youth 15 to 24 years of age (22.1%).

Of the three categories of pharmaceuticals, opioid pain relievers were the most commonly used in 2010, with one in five (20.6%) Canadians aged 15 years and older reporting the use of opioid pain relievers in the 12 months preceding the survey. Among users of opioid pain relievers, 1.1% (which corresponds to 0.2% of the total population) reported using them for the experience, the feeling they caused, or to get high.

Almost one in ten Canadians (8.7%) reported the use of sedatives or tranquilizers in the past year, while only 0.5% of users (representing 0.05% of the total population) reported the use of sedatives for the experience, the feeling they caused, or to get high. The use of stimulants in the past year was reported by 1.0% of Canadians. The rate of abuse of stimulants is not reportable.

Harms related to illicit drug use

In 2010, 2.1% of Canadians 15 years and older reported experiencing at least one harm in the past year due to their illicit drug use, a rate comparable to 2004 (2.8%). Youth 15 to 24 years of age were approximately six times more likely than adults aged 25 years and older to report harm due to drug use, with 6.9% of youth reporting such harm, compared to 1.2% of adults 25 years and older. Among current users the reported rate of past year harm has also not changed since 2004, with approximately one in six (17.0%) users reporting experiencing some harm in the past year due to their drug use. However, the rate of harm among youth aged 15 to 24 years of age was twice that of adults 25 years and older (24.7% versus 12.2%).

Alcohol

There were statistically significant increases in heavy infrequent drinking among males and adults and in light frequent drinking among females between 2009 and 2010. During this same period there were no changes overall or by age or sex, in the prevalence of alcohol use or alcohol-related harms.

Prevalence of Alcohol Use

In 2010, 77.0% of Canadians reported drinking in the past year, not statistically different from that reported in 2009 (76.5%) or 2004 (79.3%). Between 2004 and 2010 there was a statistically significant decline in past-year alcohol use among youth, 15 to 24 years of age, from 82.9% to 71.5%.

A significantly higher proportion of males than females reported past-year alcohol use (80.2% versus 73.9%, respectively) in 2010, while the prevalence of past-year drinking among adults (78.0%) was significantly higher than among youth (71.5%). Provincial rates of current drinking ranged from 72.2% in Prince Edward Island to 82.5% in Quebec. Compared to the national rate of 77.0%, Prince Edward Island (72.2%), Nova Scotia (72.3%), New Brunswick (73.1%) and Alberta (73.8%) had statistically significantly lower rates of current drinking, while the rate in Quebec (82.5%) was significantly higher.

Similar to 2009, the rate of lifetime alcohol use (88.9%) was statistically significantly lower in 2010 than in 2004 (92.8%). There was no change in the average age of first alcohol use among youth (15.9 years of age).

Patterns of Alcohol Use

The patterns of alcohol use reported in 2010, which best describe Canadians' usual drinking when they drank, showed some statistically significant changes from those reported in 2009. Heavy infrequent drinking increased among adults, from 2.4% in 2009 to 3.3% in 2010. This was likely driven by an increase in heavy infrequent drinking among males from 3.8% in 2009 to 5.6% in 2010. Light frequent drinking increased among females from 25.4% in 2009 to 28.2% in 2010.

Drinking patterns in 2010 were otherwise comparable to those in 2009. The majority of Canadians reported drinking lightly (i.e. less than five drinks per drinking occasion) with 35.7% of Canadians reporting a light infrequent (i.e. less than once a week) pattern and 32.2% reporting a light frequent (i.e. once a week or more often) drinking pattern. The remaining Canadians fell into the former drinker (12.0%), abstainer (11.2%), heavy infrequent drinking (4.6%) and heavy frequent drinking (4.3%) patterns.

Consistent with 2009, differences in drinking patterns existed between the sexes and between age groups. In 2010, a significantly higher percentage of males than females reported heavy frequent drinking (7.0% versus 1.8%), whereas a significantly higher percentage of females than males reported being abstainers (13.5% versus 8.8%). In addition, the prevalence of heavy frequent drinking among youth 15 to 24 years of age was 9.4%, approximately three times higher than the rate for adults 25 years and older (3.3%).

Compared to 2004, a significantly higher percentage of Canadians in 2010 reported not drinking (11.2% in 2010 versus 7.3% in 2004). In 2010, the rate of light frequent drinking (32.2%) was significantly higher than in 2004 (27.7%), and a significantly lower proportion of Canadians in 2010 reported heavy frequent drinking, than in 2004 (4.3% versus 7.1%).

Energy drinks have been marketed either without alcohol or premixed with alcohol. It has been reported that the former are being mixed with alcohol. Interest has been raised into understanding the consumption of alcohol in energy drinks, either premixed or consumer mixed, and questions about these practices have been asked for the first time in 2010. Among youth 15-17 years, 30% reported using alcohol in the past 30 days. Among these youth, about 5% (approximately 22,000 youth aged 15 to 17 years) consumed energy drinks with alcohol (either premixed or consumer mixed) and this represents 1.5% of the population of underage youth.

Harm from one's use of alcohol

In 2010, 14.6% of Canadians reported experiencing at least one harm in their lifetime as a result of their alcohol use, a statistically significant decline from 28.3% reported in 2004 and consistent with a lower rate of lifetime alcohol use in 2010. The rate of alcohol harm in the past year, reported by 5.7% of Canadians, was not statistically different from the rate reported in 2004 (7.1%).

The prevalence of lifetime harm due to alcohol use for males (20.4%) was double that reported by females (9.2%). This rate among females is a statistically significant decline from 11.2% in 2009. There was also a statistically significant difference between males and females in the prevalence of past-year harm due to alcohol use (7.6% versus 3.9%, respectively). Youth 15 to 24 years of age reported higher rates of harm than adults 25 years and older in their lifetime (17.6% versus 14.1%), as well as in the past-year (12.8% versus 4.3%).

Consistent with an overall decline in lifetime harms due to alcohol use, adults reported a prevalence of lifetime harms of 14.1% in 2010, a statistically significant decrease from the 21.2% reported in 2004. A statistically significant decrease in lifetime harms due to alcohol use was also reported by youth, who had a prevalence rate of 17.6% in 2010 compared to 30.6% in 2004.

There were statistically significant decreases in the prevalence of past-year harm over the past 6 years among youth (12.8% in 2010 versus 18.3% in 2004) and females (3.9% in 2010 versus 5.5% in 2004).

Definitions

The terms used above have the following definitions:

Prevalence
- the proportion of a group or population reporting the indicated behaviour or outcome, usually expressed as a percentage.

Past-year use
- reported use in the 12 months preceding the interview.

Age of initiation
- the age at which a person first used alcohol or a drug.

Abstainer
- a person who has never used alcohol in their life.

Former drinker
- a person who has used alcohol in their life, but not in the past-year.

Harm
- Alcohol and Drug related harms include harms in any of the following 8 areas: physical health; friendships and social life; financial position; home life or marriage; work, studies or employment opportunities; legal problems; difficulty learning; and housing problems.

Light infrequent drinker
- a person who drinks less than once per week on average in a year, and usually consumes less than 5 drinks on each drinking occasion.

Light frequent drinker
- a person who drinks once or more per week on average in a year, and usually consumes less than 5 drinks on each drinking occasion.

Heavy infrequent drinker
- a person who drinks less frequently than once per week, and usually consumes 5 or more drinks on each drinking occasion.

Heavy frequent drinker
- a person who drinks one or more times per week on average in a year, and usually consumes 5 or more drinks on each drinking occasion.

Reference Information

The Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) is an on-going general population survey of alcohol and illicit drug use among Canadians aged 15 and older, sponsored by Health Canada. It was developed in collaboration with the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), the Centre for Addiction Research - British Columbia (CAR-BC), Alberta Health Services (formerly, Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission), Manitoba Health, the Centre québecois de lutte aux dépendances (CQLD), and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA). Designed to provide annual national and provincial estimates of alcohol and drug-related behaviours and outcomes, CADUMS was launched in April 2008.

Within each year, the targeted number of CADUMS interviews to be conducted by telephone is 1,008 per province, randomly selected to produce a national survey of 10,080 interviews annually. Due to methodological issues, the territories are not included in the survey. For the 2010 calendar year, the youth sample was increased to 3,989. This resulted in a final sample of 13,615 respondents in 2010, representing approximately 25,957,435 Canadians aged 15 and older. The response rate for the 2010 CADUMS was 44.4%, similar to the rate of 44.7% in 2009. For purposes of this report only univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted, with statistical significance being determined by confidence interval overlap for 2004 to 2010 comparisons, and t-testing for 2009 to 2010 comparisons. The data presented in this report have been weighted to allow the results to be generalized to the Canadian population. Should you wish further details on the survey methodology, a technical guide will be available upon request after August 1, 2010.

For more information about the survey and its results, please write to the Office of Drugs and Alcohol Research and Surveillance, Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate, Health Canada, 123 Slater Street, Address Locator 3506D, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9, or send an e-mail request to ORS_BRS@hc-sc.gc.ca.